Monday, December 13, 2010

Spaghetti w/ Beef Ragu

It's the morning of my Torts final. And instead of freaking out I decided to post this delicious dinner that I made last night. I made lemon roasted chicken the night before my Elements final and that worked out pretty well. So I figured I would stick with a winning game plan. :o)

This is a great dinner that just does its thing in the slow cooker all day. Or, if you have a free afternoon (after you've put the books away), you can cook it for 4 hours on the high setting. It's the perfect meal for a cold night; hearty and comforting. Which is exactly what you need when you have a scary final the next morning.

Spaghetti w/Beef Ragu inspired by theKitchn

1 1/2 pounds stew beef, in chunks
salt & ground pepper
olive oil
1 large onion
1 28 ounce can peeled tomatoes
6 cloves garlic
1 carrot, peeled
3 shakes of crushed red pepper flakes

1. Add a little oil to a large skillet over high heat. Salt and pepper the beef and put the first batch into the pan. Brown each batch for about 4 minutes; b
e careful not to overcrowd the pan.

2. Meanwhile, coarsely chop the onion and garlic. Chop the carrot into thin rounds.

3. Lower the heat and add the onions. Cook for 10 minutes until the onion is golden.

4. Put the meat, onions, carrot, garlic, can of tomatoes, crushed red pepper flakes in a slow cooker. Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours.

5. When ready to serve, use a fork to shred the meat. Serve over spaghetti with fresh parmesan cheese.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Pistachio Brittle

I was looking for something sweet, but not a cookie. And this is what I found. It is definitely sweet and definitely not a cookie. But it also has more complexity than that statement gives it credit for. This brittle has salted pistachios on the inside and a light dusting of sea salt on the outside. Which combines into salty & sweet deliciousness that transcends what sweet or salty is ever able to accomplish on it own. Know what I mean?

Fair warning: this is NOT for people who are trying to avoid putting on holiday weight (as you'll see the main ingredients are sugar, corn syrup, and butter). Nor is it a recipe that you can make and then just put away somewhere until your husband eats it. Because, I had to hide the salty/sweet pieces from myself. Yes - they are currently in a container that is on a shelf I would need a step stool to reach and that's a little too embarrassing even for me.

But if you're looking for a gorgeous and super tasty treat that travels really well to bring to a loved one's house (and then leave there for everyone else to eat to keep yourself from eating it all) - this recipe is done super quickly and doesn't even really require a candy thermometer (you can eyeball it). Enjoy!

Pistachio Brittle from Kristin Silverman

1/2 cup water
2 cups sugar
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1 stick butter, in chunks
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
12 ounces shelled, salted, roasted pistachios
sea salt flakes

1. Combine the water, sugar, corn syrup, and butter in a large saucepan with tall sides. Turn the heat to medium-high; the mixture will start to boil pretty quickly. Stirring occasionally, let boil for about 20 minutes (or until it gets a dark amber color and starts to smell a little like burnt caramel) (or until your candy thermometer reads 300 F).

2. Remove the mixture from the heat and carefully stir in the baking soda (the mixture will bubble/foam a bit - just stir).

3. Add in the pistachios and stir until well incorporated, but work quickly.

4. Pour the whole thing onto a large baking sheet with high sides and spread with a spatula until evenly distributed. Evenly sprinkle sea salt on top.

5. Let cool for 30 minutes and then break apart into chunks (I used a clean hammer). Yum!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pecan Pie

At first I was going to share this recipe before the holiday (in case any of you wanted to make it) - but then I realized it would be strange to share a recipe that hadn't actually been eaten yet. Sure the pie smelled amazing, but I'm pretty sure most people get the real enjoyment out of their pies by eating them. So I decided to wait until after the Thanksgiving meal to make sure that the pie really did taste as good as it looked/smelled.

And boy did it! It was sweet, but not too sweet. The crust was flaky and buttery and not tough at all (which can sometimes happen if you overwork the dough). So, in the unlikely event that you are still hungry, or didn't have enough pie yesterday, or just feel like celebrating for one more day. Here is a recipe that is sure to be a crowd-pleaser or even just a "you-pleaser."

Happy Holiday Season!

Pecan Pie

Pie Crust (trusty recipe from smitten kitchen)
2 1/2 cups flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

16 tablespoons cold butter, cubed

1 cup, chilled water

1. Cube the butter and place the butter back in the fridge. Whisk together flour, sugar, and salt.

2. Add the butter cubes to the flour mixture and using a pastry cutter (or two knives) to blend the butter into the flour. The texture when finished will resemble small peas.

3. Drizzle 1/2 cup of the cold water and using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula bring the dough together. When Almost completely combined, use your hands to bring all the dough together. You may need to add a little more water to bring it all together. *don't over mix*

4. Split the dough in 1/2 and wrap each ball in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 2 hours. Or until ready to use.

5. When ready to use, place the dough in between 2 sheets of wax paper and roll out to a circle big enough to fill a pie plate. Transfer to the pie plate and punch holes in the crust using a knife. Place back in the fridge until ready to bake.


3/4 cup light corn syrup
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons milk

2 tablespoons flour

4 tablespoons butter, melted

1 cup pecans

1. Mix the syrup, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Add the milk, flour, and melted butter and mix in the pecans.

2. Pour the filling into the unbaked crust.

3. Bake at 350 F for about 45 minutes, until set.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

courtesy of

I don't have a recipe to post today. Not that we didn't cook this week or that I don't have a pile of great new things to try staring at me as I sit here typing this. My plan is to bake a pecan pie later this week to bring to my in-law's house for Thanksgiving, or maybe a French apple cake. I just haven't decided yet. I'm trying to be a little more in the moment. And I think that means that sometimes you just don't plan out exactly what recipe to make and post for the week. I'll try not to make a habit of it.

But in the spirit of my favorite holiday, a day when I will set aside the law books and try as hard as I may not to discuss heightened pleading standards and conspiring tortfeasors, this week especially I am celebrating how wonderful my family truly is.

Today my parents drove all the way up from PA just to spend the day at an event hosted at my law school. And, while I'm not sure they actually enjoyed being cold-called by a nutty British contracts professor, I sure enjoyed watching it! I am so truly thankful of how invested they are (and always have been). And of course for my amazing husband with out whose support I'm not sure I would survive law school. (even if he hid at home today to escape the wrath of cold-calling professors)

There is so much to be thankful for. And so many reasons to be in the moment. I hope you get to spend the holiday with the people you are most thankful for.

Stay tuned for a pecan pie later in the week - or French apple cake - or maybe something totally different - who knows :o)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Baking Powder Biscuits

I didn't really need a baking powder biscuits "recipe." And if you like to bake you probably don't either. But I do love this cookbook from Williams-Sonoma. The pictures are gorgeous and they did something really neat with the instructions. They give you instructions to make the recipe by hand and by machine of choice (mixer, food processor, etc.), which I think is great. Sometimes I don't feel like carting out the stand mixer. And all of the food processor parts? Forget it. But this book is a little reminder that those things really aren't necessary, if you're willing to put in a little work.

So in that spirit, instead of using a pastry cutter, I used two knives (you know, how Grandma used to do). Well, if I'm being honest I wish I had just used the cutter. For two reasons: 1. my triceps started to really hurt after a minute (which is just a little glimpse into how out of shape I really am right now) and 2. when the butter and flour combine it should be like small peas and I got too fed up before then and went looking for my pastry cutter to finish the job. But couldn't find it, which just seems like the universe laughing at me, doesn't it??

But in any event, no matter what recipe you use, biscuits really are a quick way to make Sunday morning a little extra special - which I love.

Baking Powder Biscuits from Essentials of Baking, Williams-Sonoma

2 cups of all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3/4 cup whole milk

These instructions are to make by hand. For food processor steps, see below.

1. Preheat the oven to 425 F and lightly butter a 1/2 sheet pan.

2. In a bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, and salt.

3. Add the butter and using a pastry cutter or 2 knives (see above) and cut in the butter until the mixture forms coarse crumbs the size of small peas.

4. Pour in the milk and mix with a rubber spatula just until the dry ingredients are moistened.

5. Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface and knead gently, just a few times, until it clings together. Pat the dough into a round about 3/4 inch thick.

6. Using a 3-inch round biscuit cutter (or the top of glass) to cut out the biscuits. Place the biscuits on the prepared pan. Gather scraps and repeat until all the dough is used.

7. Bake until lightly browned, about 15-18 minutes.

By Food Processor:
1. Preheat the oven to 425 F and lightly butter a 1/2 sheet pan.

2. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in the food processor and pulse 2 or 3 times to mix.

3. Add the butter and pulse 3 or 4 times until the mixture forms coarse crumbs the size of small peas.

4. Pour in the milk and pulse for a few seconds just until the dry ingredients are moistened.

*go up to regular instructions and follow from #5.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Handmade Pesto

I don't usually go in for fancy kitchen utensils that only have one use. It seems so silly to have a special tool for zesting a lemon or poaching an egg. This is doubly important in our tiny apartment (and tinier kitchen) where things have multiple uses or they just aren't worth the space they take up.

But, when we made our wedding registry I knew that I would include one very specialized (seemingly silly) item that breaks all of the rules above. A mezzaluna. I had to have one. And considering how much Tom loves pesto, it wasn't too hard to convince him that it belonged in our kitchen.

So almost 7 months after receiving the mezzaluna I finally got around to making pesto without a food processor. And please believe me when I say it's worth the 30 minutes of chopping. In fact the 30 minutes is exactly WHY it's worth it. Because with my mezzaluna, it was basically 30 minutes of relaxing meditation. I highly recommend it. If you're stressed, or just want to not think about law school finals for a little while, it will work wonders. And in the end, you get yummy pesto. What's better than that?

Handmade Pesto from 101 Cookbooks
2 handfuls of basil leaves, washed and dried
3 cloves of garlic
1 handful of pine nuts
scant 3/4 cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese

3 tablespoons good olive oil

1. Place 1/3 of the basil and 1/2 of the garlic on the cutting board and run the mezzaluna through until chopped. Add the remaining garlic and another 1/3 of basil and repeat. Add the remaining basil and slice until a fine mince.

2. Add 1/2 of the pine nuts and slice until incorporated. Add 1/2 of the cheese and repeat. Add the remainder of the pine nuts, slice. Add the remainder of the cheese and slice until all ingredients are evenly minced.

3. Form the pesto into a basil "cake" and place in a small bowl. Cover with olive oil and stir if using immediately. Otherwise, refrigerate and stir just before using.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Ginger Pecan Oatmeal Cookies

Last week I failed. I did not post. I did not cook or bake. Really I just barely kept it all together. BUT I'm back and maybe even better than ever. School has definitely gotten more stressful, but instead of completely losing my mind, I started doing yoga. And am trying to accept that it (life, school, etc.) is a process, which gives us only fleeting moments of perfection.

So with all of that in mind, I post one of most flavorful, yummy, crisp cookies that is just begging to be dipped in coffee or tea. This cookie will definitely help you relax. It will encourage you to slow down for a minute and to take a deep breath. To stop what you're doing and just be in the moment.

I hope you get to make these. Or that someone makes them for you. Because they go along way toward creating one of those fleeting moments of perfection that so many of us could use.

Ginger Pecan Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup rolled-oats
3/4 cup pecan halves

1 cup whole-wheat flour
1/4 cornstarch
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger*
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg

*or use 1 teaspoon ground ginger, but prefer the taste of fresh. I used a grater and just squeezed out the water with a paper towel.

1. Put the oatmeal and pecans into a food processor and grind until it has the texture of cornmeal.

2. In a medium-sized bowl whisk together the flour, cornstarch, ginger, salt, and baking soda. Add the oatmeal/pecan mixture.

3. Put the butter in your stand-mixer bowl and beat until light (about 1 minute). Add both sugars and beat for 3 minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides. Add the vanilla and the egg and mix until incorporated.

4. Add the flour mixture to the butter/sugar/egg mixture and mix until combined.

5. Line a loaf pan with plastic wrap and pack the dough into the pan evenly. Cover the top with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to cool (about 2 hours).

6. Heat your oven to 350 F. Remove the dough from the loaf pan and slice in half lengthwise. Cut into 1/4 inch thick cookies. Bake on cookie sheets with parchment paper for 15-18 minutes (until the edges are browned).

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Lemon Roasted Chicken

In my apology last week for dwelling on the sweets, I mentioned lemon roasted chicken. And then, couldn't stop thinking about it. Lemony, garlicy, with some delicious potato chunks thrown in for good measure. Yum!

This is one of those pretty impressive dinners that truly doesn't take much effort. Yes, I basted and turned the chicken every 20 minutes, but other than that it just hung out in the oven and did its thing allowing me to study for my first-ever law final. So it worked out well for both of us. Though in the end the chicken was eaten and I had to sit for 4 hours typing as fast as I could about jurisprudence... so maybe "well" is an overstatement.

Admittedly, the only part of the chicken that had the lemon flavor was the breast, but all of the meat was juicy and full of flavor. And the potatoes! I'm going to sneak to the fridge and get some now, even though it's 7am. Is that weird?

Lemon Roasted Chicken

1 4 lb whole chicken
1 lemon, halved
1/2 head of garlic
salt & pepper
handful of thyme

3 handfuls of new potatoes, quartered
1/4 cup olive oil

1. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Make sure to remove the giblets package from the chicken.
Rinse it with cool water inside and out; pat dry with paper towels.

2. Shove the lemon halves, garlic, and thyme inside the bird's cavity. Generously salt & pepper the cavity.

3. Place the bird in your pan breast side up and secure the legs with twine (or one of those special rubber bands made just for this purpose) and spread the potatoes around the pan.

4. Drizzle olive oil over the bird and potatoes and
sprinkle the whole thing with salt & pepper.

5. Cook for 1 1/2 hours, rotating the pan a quarter turn and basting every 20 minutes. When the chicken is done, an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the bird will read 165 F. Let sit for 10 minutes so the juices settle and serve.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Pumpkin Muffins

So I realized as soon as I put these in the oven that I haven't done a dinner food post in a while. I can only really attribute this to the fact that I've scheduled my blog food project for Sunday mornings and I guess at that time I'd much rather eat muffins, and pancakes, and crisps, than lemon roasted chicken or pork chops. But here's the deal: these muffins make my faux pas seriously ok. They actually make it super tasty.
They are a cinch and I have two of my favorite food blogs to thank. Heidi over at 101 Cookbooks did a pumpkin muffin this week, which inspired me, and Smitten Kitchen is where I picked up the recipe. These muffins are a great way to bring something special to the morning and are so approachable that it makes me wonder why I don't make muffins every week (note to self: fear of your waist line keeps you from doing this). It takes one bowl, ingredients you probably already have with the exception of 1 can of pumpkin (which the recipe uses all of), and muffin cups.

So if you love fall (who doesn't love fall?!) and want your whole house to smell like Thanksgiving and/or a Starbucks pumpkin spice latte, this is the recipe for you!

Pumpkin Muffins from Smitten Kitchen

1 can solid-pack pumpkin (15 oz., not pumpkin pie filling)
2 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 F and line muffin tin with cups.

2. In a large bowl (preferably with a pouring spout) stir together, pumpkin, eggs, oil, sugar, nutmeg, allspice, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Add flour a bit at a time and mix until just combined.

3. In a small bowl combine cinnamon and extra tablespoon of sugar.

4. Fill muffin cups about 3/4 of the way full and sprinkle the cinnamon/sugar mixture on the top of each.

5. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool for 5 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Plum Crisp

A Trader Joe's just opened up across the street from us, which is a pretty big deal. Not just because it's Trader Joe's, which in and of itself is pretty awesome, but because they managed to make it feel like a real supermarket. Anyone who lives in New York knows what I'm talking about. Our "super"markets aren't super at all. They are tiny and cramped, with the items you want way high up on the shelves and to make matters worse, carts are miniature. Well, Trader Joe's fixed all of that with two glorious, well-spaced, well-lit floors with great selection and get this: regular-sized carts! *swoon*

So on my trip there this morning, I saw a delicious little basket of plums next to a bright-colored orange, and I knew that this crisp was going to happen today! I'm still so excited that Fall has arrived. And in that spirit, I made the crisp topping with oats, and toasted almonds, and a dash of cinnamon. And the best part of all, it took about 15 minutes to put it all together and then did its thing in the oven for about another 40. So in less than an hour I was eating it, which now that I think of it, is actually the best part of all. :o)

Plum Crisp

1/4 cup sliced almonds
6 tablespoons of cold butter, in chunks
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 lb plums (I used the Italian prune plums that are in peak season right now)
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/8 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon orange zest
1/8 cup water
1/4 cup of sugar

1. Heat the oven to 375 F. Spread the sliced almonds on a baking sheet and toast until light brown (about 7 minutes).

2. In a food processor, combine the flour, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, butter, and oats. Pulse until the texture is a course meal.

3. Quarter and pit each plum. Place in a large bowl and add the orange juice, zest, water, cornstarch, and sugar. Mix to spread evenly.

4. Fill the bottom of a pie dish with the plum mixture.

5. Add the almonds to the crisp topping. Evenly spread the topping over the plums. Bake for 40 minutes.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Maple Butter Spiced Popcorn

I saw this recipe earlier in the week and spent a few minutes dreaming about how wonderful it would be. Unfortunately at that moment I was in the law library, and while this recipe is simple, it's not so simple that it can be made among the many stacks of Reporters and Shepard's volumes.

So this morning, when I sat down to read more civil procedure and Tom was settling in for an entire day of football and we looked at each other and said "I want a snack," this was the first thing I thought of. And boy am I glad I did!

I realize that microwave popcorn is soooo easy (4 minutes, no mess, etc.) and I am certainly not a popcorn snob. But recently I read a few articles about the chemicals in the microwave bags and, though it seems like everything causes cancer, making popcorn the old-fashioned way really is super easy (and fun!). So I got out the kernels and the big pot and a few pops later, this delicious treat was ours. And a few seconds later, it was all gone.

I will probably spend way too much time over the next few days thinking up some other flavor combos: brown butter & salt or chili-lime both come to mind. If you have any inspiration, please feel free to share!

Maple Butter Spiced Popcorn from theKitchn

1/2 cup popcorn kernels
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon good maple syrup
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Lightly coat the bottom of a deep pot with vegetable oil. Pour the kernels in; they should cover the bottom in a single layer.

2. Turn the burner to medium heat and cover with a tight-fitting lid.

3. Melt the butter and whisk in the maple syrup.

4. Combine the cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.

5. Once the first kernels pop, shake the pot vigorously to keep the popcorn from burning. When the popping stops, remove from heat and empty into a large bowl.

6. Pour the melted butter/syrup mixture over the popcorn while stirring to get an even coat. Sprinkle the spice mixture while stirring. Serve hot.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Spinach, Tomato & Swiss Quiche

I'm going to start out with an apology, which maybe isn't the best beginning of a post, but it's honest nonetheless. I used a ready-made crust. Now that's not normally how I roll, but I wanted to make quiche and we had about an hour before we had to be on our way to Baltimore for the Yankees/O's game. (The Yanks lost by the way, which made for a happy husband and father-in-law, but not so much for a happy me.)

Anyway, so back to the quiche. It was actually super simple (especially if you cheat and use the ready-made crust) and it's a great vehicle for highlighting any in-season vegetables or flavors that you love; the possibilities are endless. I chose to focus on the incredibly delicious tomatoes that are cropping up all around and made one veggie (for my father) with spinach, tomato, and swiss and the other with all of that plus Canadian bacon.

It took less than 45 minutes to put it all together and making only one would easily shave some time off. The result was a great and significant breakfast, which you know, is the most important meal of the day. And my favorite!

Spinach, Tomato & Swiss Quiche
makes 2 quiches

1/4 lb canadian bacon

1 lb frozen chopped spinach, thawed

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

16 oz swiss cheese, grated

6 eggs

2 cups light cream

1 cup milk

2 teaspoons salt

a dash nutmeg

2 pie crusts (homemade or ready-made)

1. Heat the oven to 400°F; line the pie pans with crust and cover with fork holes; bake the pie crusts for 10 minutes, w/ a weight on top (to keep them from puffing up)

2. In a large bowl, mix the eggs, cream, milk, cheese, salt and nutmeg.

3. Once the crusts have baked, remove them from the oven and cover each with the spinach, tomatoes and bacon. (we did one with bacon, if you want to make both with bacon use a 1/2 lb).

4. Place the pie pans on a cookie sheet (trust me, even an expert pour will leak a little).

5. Cover each with half of the egg/cream/cheese mixture.

6. Bake at 450°F for 10 minutes.

7. Lower the heat to 325°F and bake for 20 minutes.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Apple Dutch Baby

I realize this is dangerously close to a pancake, which was the topic of my last post, but this really is very different. It has apples (yum!) and puffs up when you bake it (fancy!) and sooo much cinnamon-y goodness it was just screaming to be made on a day like today.

Do I dare say that fall has arrived?! I don't want to jinx it of course, but the air is crisp, there's a nice breeze, and I've unpacked my sweaters ... sounds like fall to me! :o) I love this time of year and I especially love when apples taste like apples again. Is there anything better than biting into a crisp juicy apple while wearing a scarf? I think not.

So here it is: an apple dutch baby (which is really like a big puffy apple custardy pancake) to herald in the fall. *cue the trumpets*

Apple Dutch Baby adapted slightly from theKitchn

2 fuji apples (you could use Granny Smith, but this is what I had in the fridge)
1/3 cup walnut pieces
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar

5 eggs
3/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat your oven to 400
°F. Melt the butter in your 8x8 pan or cast iron skillet. In a small bowl mix the sugar and cinnamon.

2. Peel and slice the apples. Once the butter is melted, sprinkle the brown sugar over it and arrange the apples and walnuts on top. Sprinkle the sugar/cinnamon mixture over top. Place the pan back in the oven.

3. Whisk the eggs until foamy. Add the flour, salt and sugar until just incorporated. Add the vanilla and milk and whisk until smooth.

4. Remove the pan from the oven and pour your batter over top. Sprinkle with a little more sugar and cinnamon.

5. Bake for 20 minutes. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Pancakes

There is very little that can't be fixed by pancakes. And this morning, I needed some fixin'. This past week has been INSANE. I mean, beyond what I could ever have imagined. Not only did I spend between 8-10 hours each day reading, but we had a super awesome extermination issue that needed attending to. I won't go into the gory details because this is a cooking blog and you came to hear about pancakes, not the most horrible thing ever, but when I say that ALL of our belongings are in plastic bags and totes, please know that there is no hyperbole.

Often my go-to pancake is this one from 101 Cookbooks. It's light and a little sweet and I can eat about 100 of them in one sitting. But I didn't need a light pancake. I needed a pancake with substance, one that I could wrap around myself like a blanket and forget about the plastic totes and civil procedure for just a little bit. Or until I ate it all. So where did I find such a recipe? Where my mother always told us to look with any food questions: the Fannie Farmer Cookbook!

If you don't have the Fannie Farmer Cookbook, I highly recommend it. It's a great general reference and I've never experienced a dud - so when I want to try something new I don't have to worry that I'm wasting time, ingredients, etc.

The only change I made was to add chocolate chips. Because, well, did you read above? My only regret is that I didn't double the batch, because there aren't any left...

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Pancakes from Boston Cooking School Cookbook, Fannie Merrit Farmer

1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons melted butter (I browned mine because, why not?)
1 egg

2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Mix milk, melted butter and egg in a medium bowl.

2. In a separate bowl sift the flours, baking powder, sugar and salt.

3. Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and stir just enough to combine.

4. Add more milk if you need to (I added a splash). The consistency should be that of heavy cream

5. In a hot buttered skillet, pour nice sized blobs of batter. This recipe makes 6 to 8 smallish pancakes.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Kitchen Renovation

(image from Trinity Law School)

Things have been a little intense around our house for the past week or so. My law school orientation started last week, and while orientation sounds like it should be pretty low-key, I've had 2 hours of class each morning, have been sitting in mandatory lectures/panels/discussions for many hours each day, and still have many more hours of reading to do each night. I'm not complaining (really), but I sure am glad that they gave us a week with just one class to allow us to transition. Because, well, it's going to be tough to find balance between life (husband, cooking, running, friends) and school (reading, reading, reading, reading, class).

To add a little more stress (but also fun) to the mix, the kitchen renovation that we've been working on took a major step forward on Monday! A lot of work was done by my parents (who are super handy), but for the sink upgrade and laying of the granite counter top we call called in the experts. I was in class and then in lectures all day while this was happening (of course), which is tough for a control freak like me. But Tom's father came up for the day and oversaw the whole thing.

And the kitchen that once looked like this:
When I came back from school that evening, looked like this:

*I promise to post an actual recipe soon (I have some great ones waiting), but I need to get oriented a little better first. :o)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


This past Sunday, my friend Shannon and I wandered over to Prospect Park in Brooklyn with the single goal of eating as many different types of pie as possible.

Shannon (as she often does) stumbled across a super cool event that charged a minimal amount and offered good food (can you say "the perfect friend"?!). We paid our $10 suggested donation and scoped out the two tables worth of home baked pies.

There was a preponderance of crusts flavored with thyme, not nearly enough stone fruit pies for my taste, and some delicious old favorites (whoopie pies!). While I didn't taste a perfect pie (mastering the delicate balance of crust/filling ratio), I did enjoy seeing the unique and often tasty pairings that the bakers presented.

The most interesting pie of the day was definitely the bing cherry and bacon marmalade pie with duck fat and thyme crust, though for my taste there should have been more filling and slightly less crust.

And the best pie overall was the s'more pie (which we ate before getting a picture, oops), which perfectly captured the campfire s'more and had a delightful graham cracker crust.

We had a blast and while I'm entertaining the idea of entering a pie or two of my own next year, we were definitely inspired to host a PIE SUNDAY among our friends. It seems like the perfect way to share recipes, tips about getting the perfect crust, and of course - eating pie!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Cowboy Cookies

These cookies are a go-to for me. In fact, most times I have available a lump of this cookie dough frozen, so if we get a hankering for something sweet, pure bliss is only about 10 minutes away.

I found this recipe in a Martha Stewart Living magazine ages ago and it has definitely stood the test of time. I think the fact that it's stuffed with basically every awesome flavor ever (except marshmallow I guess) makes it a clear champion.

If you're on a diet or have a nut-allergy this is not for you (though you could omit the nuts all together I suppose). But if you want a super tasty, substantial and gooey cookie, plug in your mixer, because I promise you won't be disappointed. The only difficulty I can attest to, is not shoveling spoonfuls of the dough in your mouth while standing over the kitchen sink. Wait, did I just admit to that?...

Cowboy Cookies adapted (barely) from Martha Stewart Living Magazine

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt (or regular salt if for some reason you prefer)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, cut into chunks (I used chips because that's what I had)
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper*. In a medium-sized bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, salt, and baking powder.

2. In a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugars on medium-high until pale and creamy, about 3 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium. Add the eggs, one at a time, scrape down the sides and beat well after each addition. Add the vanilla.

3. Reduce speed to low, and slowly add the flour mixture. Add the oats, chocolate, walnuts, and coconut. Beat until just combined.

4. Using a 1 1/2 inch ice cream scoop or a small spoon, drop dough onto baking sheets, spacing 3 inches apart. (The cookies will spread!)

5. Bake until edges of cookies begin to brown, 10 to 13 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the sheets for about 5 minutes. Then transfer the cookies to wire racks and let them cool for another 10 minutes before eating (good luck with that).

Cookies can be stored for up to 3 days. Unused dough can be frozen and stored indefinitely. I don't bother to defrost the dough before baking and there is no discernible difference.

*I always use parchment paper to line the cookie sheets, even if the sheets are non-stick. The parchment not only makes clean-up super easy, it keeps the cookie bottoms from overcooking before the rest of the cookie is done.